Perhaps it’s not the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” that’s so bad. It’s the expectation of nailing down an answer.
~ Dana Gerhardt
October is slipping away and Samhain is nearly upon us, but I did want to discuss the Tenth House a little bit more.
The Tenth House rules career, our vocational purpose, fame (or lack of it!), worldly standing, our accomplishments, reputation and status. It is the pointer to how we contribute to society and are recognized. As opposed to the Sixth House of work and job, the Tenth House is our calling.
Like many, I expect, I have been thinking a lot lately about career and calling. For people who have lost their jobs and are desperately trying to make ends meet, the once-upon-a-time dream of having a fulfilling, successful career may seem a naïve luxury. As in, “Thanks, but just give me a freakin’ paycheck, please; I am trying to keep a roof over our heads.”
I am not sure what the latest unemployment numbers mean – they all seem confusing, contradictory and possibly cooked, to me. How do you count the people who have given up? Do you count the people whose benefits have run out? Do you count the people who are underemployed, like the research chemist who is now sweeping floors on the night shift at Burger King?
I don’t actually need to try to decipher the news and numbers we are being fed. I am seeing it. Month after heartbreaking month, year after year at my table, with my clients. The teacher who, two years ago thought she was just temporarily laid off returns to me now as the hardcore, desperately unemployed. The award-winning real estate agent is now battling the threat of his own homelessness.
What is going on here? And how can I even begin to write coherently about career, and higher calling?
I’ll start by deferring to one of our favorite voices that has guided us in this journey through the Houses, Dana Gerhardt. She writes that the Tenth House is, “What you make of yourself… The Tenth describes your career, your public reputation, your worldly status. It suggests your optimum contribution [my emphasis] to society, the qualities for which you’d like to be admired and respected.”
Maybe I am in some kind of la-la land denial, but the longer I listen to the plights of those who have fallen from the once-cozy nest of corporate America (or the succoring public sector), the more I am convinced that those lost jobs are often not a setback, but a challenging opportunity to step up.
That’s because I also know that, before they lost them, many were confiding in me that those jobs were “soul-sucking.” They knew in their hearts they desperately wanted out, wanted something finer, better, more authentic — someday. Their wishes came true, just a bit sooner than planned.
Dana writes, “How do you ensure your expression of your Tenth house is a positive one? Whatever the sign in your Tenth house, you’ve got to grow your professional image beyond your childhood strategies and take your place in the world with maturity and strength.
“To do this, you must take a journey as old as myth. Just getting older won’t do it. You have to kill the king, or in modern parlance, face the boss.”
I believe that one of the most powerful gifts of this changing Pluto-in-Capricorn paradigm (which often comes disguised as loss) is the recognition of who the boss really is. Turns out, it’s not the big-shot in the corner office.